"An Extreme Value Theory for Strength of Stiff Clays", K. P. George and Adnan A. Basma, Special Report on the Probabilistic Characterization of Soil Properties, Geotechnical Engineering Division, ASCE, GT-SR 1984, pp. 157-169.


This study highlights a statistical theory of failure for stiff fissured clays. The failure in these clays is a process characteristic of the "defect" structure; accordingly, it is shown that their strength or bearing capacity is determined by the smallest value of the failure strength. A minimum extreme type distribution (Weibull distribution) is found to represent statistically the strength of such deposits. Weibull distribution not only fits the published data on London clay (11) but also portrays the characteristic "size effect" of fissured clays. The authors contend this result to be step for-ward in the direction of replacing the empirical factors, as recommended by previous researchers, in estimating field strength from laboratory results. The role of the distribution function in the safety analysis of soil structures is briefly discussed. Comparison of the two statistical distributions ( normal and Weibull) reveals that Weibull distribution, because of its emphasis on defect structure gives rise to relatively conservative designs in fissured clays.

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